The £50m vase fairy-tale sale that went sour finally goes through...but for a bit less

The fairy-tale sale of the vase, which was discovered in a northwest London attic, turned sour after a wealthy Chinese buyer refused to pay the auction fees totalling £8m

An 18th century antique Chinese vase that became the subject of a two-year row after a buyer reneged on his £43m bid, has finally sold for £20 million.

The fairy-tale sale of the vase, which was discovered in a northwest London attic, turned sour after a wealthy Chinese buyer refused to pay the auction fees totalling £8m. 

Tony Johnson and his mother Gene originally 'sold' the vase in 2010 to a billionaire Chinese buyer, who stumped up £43 million for the item.

With the 20 per cent commission levied by the auction house the final price of the item was a staggering £53m, which would have been a record for Chinese art.

However, the wealthy buyer reneged on the deal after refusing to pay the auction commission.

Peter Bainbridge, who owns the provincial auction house that originally “sold” the vase, at the time tried to save the deal by negotiating with the buyer but had no success.

In a statement this week the auction house Bonhams, who were brought in to help sell the vase said: “Bonhams is pleased to confirm the sale of the vase for an undisclosed sum, in a private treaty deal."

The new unidentified buyer from the Far East is believed to have paid up to £25 million.

The 16in tall vase was made for Chinese emperor Qianlong, who ruled from 1736 to 1795.

The item was looted from the Imperial Summer Palace during raids by the British and French in 1860.

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